Try 1 month for 99¢

INDIANAPOLIS — Countless times this season, Bishop Noll midfielder Bruno Zamora has assisted on striker Jake Wichlinski goals. The Warriors' midfield maestro stands among the Region's leaders with 24 assists, and the 6-foot-3 target man can say the same with 34 goals.

With everything on the line Friday night in the Class 2A boys soccer state championship against Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, their roles reversed. Wichlinski found Zamora with a perfectly placed pass through multiple defenders for Bishop Noll's go-ahead goal as the Warriors took their first state title with a 1-0 win.

“I'm pretty sure not all (24 assists), but almost all (24) were to Jake,” Zamora said. “I didn't know if it was gonna go through or not. … We've been working for this since the beginning of the season, and hard work pays off.”

Zamora had come off in the first half with a right knee injury, walking gingerly to the bench before returning six minutes later. He showed no sign of injury in the build-up to Bishop Noll's goal, however, stepping in front of a Raiders player to win the ball near midfield with most of Cardinal Ritter's team on the Warriors' end of the field.

After finding Wichlinski on the right side, Zamora said he saw an opening on the left and immediately sprinted upfield. As Wichlinski evaded his defender and chugged toward the box, he threaded a 30-yard pass on the ground through multiple Raiders to an open Zamora. Zamora relaxed and finished as he said the game slowed down around him, and the Warriors celebrated like the goal counted for more than just one on the scoreboard.

“We flipped roles,” Wichlinski said. “I just got the ball, and I saw him making an amazing run, and I just said, 'Please, God, let this go through the defense.' And it did, and he got it, and I knew the minute he touched it (that) it would go in.”

The Warriors' run came despite their No. 14 ranking in Class 2A in the final regular-season Indiana Soccer Coaches Association poll. They knocked off multiple top-five teams, including Cardinal Ritter, and left IUPUI's Carroll Stadium dancing and prancing, in stark contrast to last year's nail-biting semistate loss to Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran that motivated the Warriors for the past 12 months.

Head coach Quinn Cloghessy jazzed along to Sheck Wes' “Mo Bamba” with the traveling Bishop Noll students as IHSAA officials prepared for the trophy ceremony, and the Warriors celebrated a run that goalkeeper Danny Salazar said could augment the program's status for years to come.

“Whenever you tell a team, 'Hey, let's go win state,' it's almost like a pipe dream,” Cloghessy said. “The more and more these guys won, the more and more they started to believe in themselves. … To be able to hoist that big state of Indiana trophy is unbelievable.”

Gallery: Class 2A boys soccer state final: Cardinal Ritter vs. Bishop Noll


Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.